Sunday, December 19, 2010

Laying Shawnee to Rest

Yesterday was Shawnee's funeral services. My girlfriend B lives in Pennsylvania and worked with Shawnee at the other hospital she had left to go to when she became a nurse practitioner in neonatalogy. We met up and went in together, there were probably 20 people from that hospital, and another 15 from mine, everyone else was people she and her family went to church with, family and friends. It was a beautiful, but heart breaking service. She had a beautiful program with pictures of her, her with her kids, pictures she'd taken of flowers (she was an avid gardener and photographer), messages from loved ones, an obit that told the story of her life, a poem from the children to her, and one meant to be from her to comfort us. It was hard to sit through, what funeral service isn't, but this is probably the one that hit home for me and B the most. We're mom's, Shawnee was 33 when she passed, I'm 30 and B is 34-ish. My son just turned 4, B's daughter will be 3, and so will Shawnee's. B is pregnant and sick as anything, due in March, and to die in childbirth happens sure, but it's just not as frequent a thing as it used to be. I hope to be pregnant in the next year.

The night that we found out Shawnee had passed I remember crying on the way home from what was supposed to be a fun holiday party at another coworker's house, but with us all just finding out what happened, it turned out to be one more full of shock and disbelief. I remember holding Archie's hand and asking if something happened to one of us and the kids were still young, would the other promise to make sure that they never forgot about the other, that they knew how much we loved them, and would we talk about the other person often so that our children would "know" us-know what we loved to do, what the other could picture us saying in different circumstances, what we would have thought of different things.

The pastor said something so true in the service yesterday. He said he knows alot of us aren't really questioning God, but just wondering what would make him take her. He kept putting all of this emphasis on her being a neonatal nurse-God takes people regardless of their occupations, sure, we take care of babies, and alot of people find that to be honorable I guess, but it's just what we do. What I don't get is why he'd take HER. A young mother with young children, one who doesn't even know her really. The mother and wife in a growing family. The loyal and very loved daughter. I know he takes people who we don't think he should, I watch him take sweet little angels more than I'd like. But this pastor is right, why her, and why in the way that he did. I know Shawnee knew things were bad, I know she was scared, and I know that she knew too much, it's the bad thing about being a healthcare professional-you know what's going on. I cannot imagine what she was thinking or feeling when things started to go downhill. You know, it's not like she had a devastating car accident and was taken immediately, quickly and without suffering. It just doesn't make sense. But the pastor was right in this. He was talking to her husband during the eulogy, and he said that it was human to wonder these things. What we have to do when we're sitting there thinking (as I have no doubt her husband is) "What do I do now, how do I go on from here?" is just lean on God, tell him that you don't have the answers (and may never have them), but tell God that you need help, you can't do this alone, and just let God do what he does. That it may not seem like God is answering you when you are asking the questions, but as time goes on and you see that you are still here, you're making your new norm for you and your children and you look back at where you've come since He took her, that you will know that only God could get you through something like that. He heard you, He helped you, He did not let you down, He was there walking with you, getting you through the darkest of times. There is no way you get through something like this without Him. Ain't that the truth.

After sitting in the megachurch for a little over 2 hours, B and I both had headaches, were heartbroken and just drained. She hadn't eaten before she came because she feels awful after she does and she didn't want to embarass herself at the service, so we left while others stayed behind to go to the cemetary. We decided to have lunch at Friendly's and instead of us making it a "girls lunch" where we knew we'd both be moping and talking about sad things, we invited Archie and Jack to join us, and we ended up having a very nice lunch.

I feel like I've cried so much this week, and Shawnee and I weren't even that close. I cried two Friday nights ago, I've gotten teary at least a few times throughout the week when conversation about her came up, I cried yesterday at the service, and again last night as I prayed again for her family and friends to be able to find a way to get through this. I've prayed for her family nightly since the news, and unfortunately, I cry each time. I've cried writing this post. So while you are finishing up preparations for later this week, please keep them in your prayers. Anyone who has lost a loved one feels their loss at this time of year, but the wounds for Shawnee's family and friends are still so fresh and raw, and there are two little ones who still need to have as normal a Christmas as can be possible. Please pray for the strength for her husband to be able to get through such a major family event without his wife, his baker, his photographer, his children's mother. Thanks guys.

1 comment:

  1. I love what the pastor is so true. Eventhough I didn't know Shawnee, this is so very sad. I know that could just as well have been me....I bled a lot at my c-section. Its very scary and sad to have happen to anyone, especially someone who must have had such a positive impact on so many people. Praying...